The first of the Daffodils is that with the purple crowne, or circle, hauing small narrowe leaues, thicke, fat, and ful of slimie iuice: among the which riseth vp a naked stalke, smooth and hollow, of a foote high; bearing at the top a faire milke white flower, growing forth of a hood, or thin filme, such as the flowers of Onions are wrapped in: in the middest
of which flower is a round circle or small coronet of a yellowish colour, pursted or bordered about the edge of the said ring or circle, with a pleasant purple colour; which being past, there followeth a thicke knobbe or button, wherein is conteined black round seede.
Kermode writes: "'Men in the middest
' make considerable imaginative investments in coherent patterns which, by the provision of an end, make possible a satisfying consonance with the origins and with the middle." (10)
Now the forepart of the braine is the softer, the hindpart the harder, and the middest
of a middle constitution; and therefore the Imagination is in the forward ventricles, Ratiotination in the middle, and Memory in the hindmost.
In Xaindu did Cublai Can build a stately Pallace; encompassing sixteene miles of plaine ground with a wall, wherein are fertile Meddowes, pleasant Springs, delightfull Streames, and all sorts of beasts of chase and game, and in the middest
thereof a sumptuous house of pleasure, which may be removed from place to place.
Born "into the middest
" of his life pilgrimage, man moves towards the end of his days when he is to meet his judgment, just like fiction starts in medias res and moves towards the critical moment of resolution.
The sleeues of their gownes be long and streit: vppon their heads they do weare a Tulbant of a marueilous wideness and bignesse, hauing the middest
People live "in the middest
" of time (8), and so they
"Men," he says, "like poets, rush 'into the middest
,' in media res, when they are born; they also die in mediis rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends, such as give meaning to lives and to poems" (7).
Using a phrase from Revelation 22.2, Frank Kermode expresses this most elegantly: "Men [...] rush 'into the middest
,' in medias res, when they are born; they also die in mediis rebus, and to make sense of their span they need fictive concords with origins and ends, such as give meaning to lives [...].
, we look for a fullness of time, for beginning,
Like a flash, the future appears before us as a new kind of apocalypse, an end of days that makes the petty and trivial--the "loose change" of aging--thick with eschatological significance: "Apocalypse depends," Frank Kermode writes, "on a concord of imaginatively recorded past and imaginatively predicted future, achieved on behalf of us, who remain 'in the middest
.'" 6 But therapeutics makes the task of remaining "in the middest
" less disheartening psychologically than its religious predecessors, promising a culture--or a future--that will be, to borrow from Philip Rieff, "purchased at lower cost to our nerves, and at larger magnitudes of self-fulfillment."
Thus in Basilikon Doron (1599) he advises his son Henry, "But as for the Borders, because I know, if ye enjoy not this whole Ile, according to Gods right and your lineall discent, yee will never get leave to brooke this North and barrennest part thereof; no, not your owne head whereon the Crowne should stand; I neede not in that case trouble you with them: for then they will bee the middest
of the Ile, and so as easily ruled as any part thereof." (13) Here James reasserts the familiar association between the monarch's person and the State itself, where an inability to "brooke" the North is tantamount to losing sovereignty of his own person--significantly, the head upon which that loaded signifier, the crown, sits.